Expert Review: 2024 K2 Mindbender 85 SkisPublished on 08/28/2023 · 5 min readSkiing Experts Ian Hamilton and Luke Hinz tested the 2024 K2 Mindbender 85 skis in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories.
Curated Skiing Experts Ian Hamilton and Luke Hinz got their hands on the 2024 K2 Mindbender 85 this spring. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different; if you have any questions about the K2 Mindbender 85 or need recommendations on which ski would be best for you, reach out to a Skiing Expert here on Curated.
Before we get started, it's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does K2 claim about this ski? [Ian] It's marketed by K2 as an entry level, all mountain carving ski. It has just a wood core (no metal), so it is a forgiving beginner to intermediate level ski.
[Luke] The Mindbender 85 is the most narrow ski in the Mindbender collection. It's also the softest ski and the most forgiving. K2 claims that it’s a great ski for new to intermediate skiers who are looking to finally step off the trail to start venturing into uncut terrain, trees and terrain of that nature.
What is your overall impression of the ski? [Ian] My overall impression was that it's a good all around ski, and it’s one of the most affordable K2 skis. I’ve recommended this ski a lot and a lot of people really like it!
[Luke] The Mindbender 85 is a great ski for beginners that want to progress rapidly. Overall, it's more about venturing off piste than having the best edge grip and control on groomers.
How does the shape of the ski affect the way it rides? [Ian] It's pretty skinny at 85, so it is more of a groomer, on piste ski. But that being said, it does have a little bit of early rise in the tip, so it will handle off piste decently well.
[Luke] These skis are incredibly soft. Where the rest of the Mindbenders have a titanal frame that really stiffens them up, the Mindbender 85 has just a simple wood core. It's a very soft ski that’s very forgiving. The tips and tails are very maneuverable and it’s very easy to turn.
How does the ski turn? [Ian] The turn initiation was pretty easy, and edge to edge they were really quick.
[Luke] This is not a demanding ski. This is not a ski that you need to crank on to get it to turn.
What is the edge hold like? [Ian] They held an edge pretty well.
What about dampness? Any chatter in the skis? [Luke] I did try to open the ski up a bit and it immediately started to chatter and feel unstable.
How does it feel in terms of speed? [Luke] The ski is much more suited to making smaller, tighter turns at slower speeds
Could you speak about playfulness and pop? [Luke] The ski is more on the playful side.
How is it for freeride skiing? [Luke] I definitely think you can take the ski off piste - that's kind of what it's made for. That being said, I wouldn't take it into very advanced technical terrain as it's just not really made for that.
How is it in powder? [Luke] The 85 millimeter waist isn't going to give you a ton of float in powder. I did ski these in some powder and they were fine. They held their own, but on really deep days they would definitely sink in quite a bit.
How is it skiing in the trees? How is its maneuverability? [Luke] The good thing about having no metal in the ski is that it's definitely on the lighter side, which makes it really easy on your legs. Also, it makes it much easier to maneuver in tight spots and a lot easier for initiating those shorter radius turns.
What terrain is this ski good for? [Ian] It's a pretty good option for skiers that want a forgiving, easy to ski option, but also want to get off the groomers a little bit, explore, and get into the trees.
[Luke] I do think the ski is more suited for a little off piste skiing with that softer tip and tail. You get a little bit more float with this ski, but it just didn't have quite the edge grip that I would like in a beginner ski.
What terrain should skiers avoid with it? [Luke] If you're looking for a ski strictly for on piste and just for groomers with the most control, this actually wouldn't be my first choice. The ski just has a little bit softer tip and tail, so it doesn't have quite the edge grip of other beginner skis.
Who would you recommend these skis to? [Ian] This is a ski that will help beginners progress to be intermediates and beyond. I think that's really the niche that it fits into well - progression skiing. It's pretty affordable and it'll help you become a better skier, and I think that's awesome!
[Luke] This would be a great ski for lighter, beginner to lower intermediate skiers - somebody who doesn't want to just stick to the trails and wants to take the ski off piste.
Who should avoid these skis, there are better options out there for them? [Ian] They are pretty soft, so I would say bigger skiers or skiers that want to ski fast and aggressive - this is not the ski for you. The Mindbender Ti is a much better option.
[Luke] For skiers with a larger frame, it’s probably best to look for something a little bit stiffer, maybe with some carbon or metal in it.
I think once you get up to intermediate and start skiing at higher speeds, the ski does start to reveal its limitations a bit. It's just not really built for higher speeds. It's built for lower speeds and shorter radius turns. I think the ski could take you up to intermediate, but after that you'd probably outgrow the ski pretty quickly.
Skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you are wondering whether the Mindbender 85 is the right ski for you, chat with Ian, Luke, or any other Skiing Experts here on Curated, and they’ll put together free, personalized ski recommendations on the best skis for your needs.